When Steven Moffat took over as Doctor Who showrunner from Russell T. Davies in 2010, Matt Smith also stepped into place as the eleventh Doctor. Smith stayed for three seasons and proved to be an extremely popular incarnation of the Doctor, while Moffat stayed in place long after Smith’s departure, finally announcing last week that he will be stepping down as showrunner at the end of season ten, which will air in 2017.
The reaction to Moffat’s departure has been mixed, but it’s fair to say that most fans of Doctor Who believe it is the right time for him to step down, even if they’re not happy that season ten will not hit our screens until spring 2017. Some feel as though he is running the show into the ground, while others feel that his contribution to Doctor Who has been invaluable. As always, a lot is subjective and comes down to personal opinion, but one person who will miss Moffat’s influence on the show, is Smith.
Busy promoting his latest film, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Smith found time to pass comment on Moffat’s departure (via , saying he’s sad to see his time as Doctor Who showrunner coming to an end. “He’s done so much for it, he pretty much is Doctor Who,” Smith said, adding: “I feel privileged that I got to work with what I think is one of the greatest writers to have been involved with that show.”
Talk inevitably moved to the future direction of the show, and the appointment of Chris Chibnall as showrunner. Chibnall currently serves as showrunner for ITV drama Broadchurch, starring David Tennant, and Chibnall will see out a third season of that show before moving across to Doctor Who. He has previously written for Doctor Who as well as spin-off Torchwood, and Smith praised Chibnall’s ability: “The show will always endure. There’s a wonderful writer coming in, and as always, it’s about regeneration and the reinvention of things.”
Stepping into Moffat’s shoes can be no easy task, and no doubt there will be some fans who welcome the changes Chibnall will bring and others who do not, much the same as when Moffatt took over from Davies. However, Doctor Who, as it currently stands, is in need of a fresh overhaul to keep things exciting and enticing, and Chibnall has the potential, as a writer already widely praised for his abilities, to do just that.
Doctor Who will return for a Christmas special at the end of 2016, followed by season 10 in spring 2017.
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